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Interview

David Kilimnick p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. David Kilimnick is an American-born comedian who moved to Israel and co-founded the Off the Wall Comedy Basement in Jerusalem. He writes humorous observations about life in Jerusalem for The Times of Israel. He gives a lot of good comedy writing book tips in this interview.

Even though he loved the American lifestyle, comedian David Kilimnick left his home in Rochester, New York State – about five hours from New York City – and moved to Jerusalem.
Now he performs stand-up and writes for The Times of Israel about daily life as an Oleh Chadash or Israeli newcomer. He talks about the struggle to keep your place in lines for buses; over-the-top shopping experiences at The Shuk, where storekeepers berate you to help you; and how no-smoking signs around the Tachana Merkazit are meant to be disregarded. He says it is the dream of everyone in Jerusalem to live in Tel Aviv, and terrorism is the result of bad cable tv access.
His reading comes from his interests in comedy, his faith and from what the people he knows are into.
“I have had roommates who are into politics, especially Israeli politics and history. Roommates who are into sports. Roommates who are into fiction. Roommates who are into knowing everything that exists around the world and why pop culture is the way it is. That is why I have found that letting people lead me in my readings is good. They have led me to many different places and they have mostly been interesting. I have recently got into books that my nephews and nieces read. Those kids books say a lot and they are quick. I can usually get through them in one sitting. I like that, as a slow reader.
When it comes to comedy, I read about the technical side a lot. And whenever I see a book that a comedian put out, which is not a joke book, but a thoughtful work filled with humor, I make it a point to read it. And I almost always enjoy those books.”

READERSVVOICE.COM What are some of your favorite books on comedy?

DAVID KILIMNICK: Greg Dean’s comedy workshops [author of Step by Step to Stand-Up Comedy].
Franklyn Ajaye’s Comic Insights.
Gene Perret wrote some good books about comedy.
I like The Big Book of Jewish Humor by Novak & Waldoks, a compilation.
I would say that I like a lot of books, but I cannot remember any others right now.
Seinlanguage was cute, but it was his stand-up in written form- written as said. I did enjoy it. I also have enjoyed most books I have picked up by comedians. I read a great autobiography by Steve Martin [Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life], and the same for Israeli entertainer- turned very religious rabbi- Uri Zohar [Waking Up Jewish].
I have to read more books by comedians.
Regarding improv, I have yet to have read a really good book about it.
Regarding stand-up, I enjoyed the first two books listed here the most. I cannot remember the names of the Gene Perret books I looked at [possibly The New Comedy Writing Step by Step]. The Comedy Bible: From Stand-Up to Sitcom, The Comedy Writer’s Ultimate How-to Guide [by Judy Carter] is another go-to book for comedians.
Truth be told, I like hearing interviews with comedians about their stand-up.

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– copyright Simon Sandall

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